In case you haven’t been paying attention, there has been a lot of talk lately about so-called ‘nepo babies’, children of stars who find success in the entertainment industry riding on the coattails of their wealthy and well-connected parents.
Nepotism has long played an active role in show business. Children of actors, producers, directors, musicians, and athletes all are at a tremendous advantage when it comes to their future prospects.
In recent times, however, people have begun to notice that virtually everyone in Hollywood is related. The idea that certain people are basically born into fame while others fight their entire lives for something as trivial as bit parts and cameo appearances in a handful of TV shows and films seems somewhat unfair.
So you might be wondering how all this ties in with Wheel of Fortune’s longtime host Pat Sajak. Well, recently, the aging television personality has come under fire for a comment that he made that seemed to indicate that he was grooming his daughter to take over either as the primary host of Wheel or replace Vanna White as the show’s co-host.
Pat’s daughter, Maggie Sajak, joined the Wheel of Fortune family in 2021, and recently given his advancing age, Pat has indicated that he might be getting close to retirement.
Join us as we attempt to dissect this sticky situation. As of right now, there doesn’t seem to be any solid proof that Maggie Sajak is going to be taking the reigns of Wheel of Fortune, but Pat has dropped a few hints that seem to indicate who he thinks should be his replacement – and the internet, being the controversy machine that it is has responded with utter indignation.
Facts Verse Presents: Pat Sajak’s Comment on His Daughter is Causing Outrage
Maggie Sajak Has Lived A Life Of Privilege
Wheel of Fortune has long been a family game show in every sense of the word. The long-running and immensely iconic program has been hosted by Pat Sajak for pretty much as far back as we can remember.
Recently, however, it’s been speculated that Pat’s daughter Maggie might become the new face of the series. Granted, that assertion is at the moment merely just a fan theory, but even so, it’s not a completely baseless one.
After seeing a clip of Pat and Maggie bantering during a Wheel of Fortune trivia segment, viewers have begun to suspect that 28 year old Maggie may very well be next in line for the Wheel of Fortune crown when her 76 year old father inevitably steps down.
Maggie Marie Sajak has spent the majority of her adult life performing as a country music singer. Her musical style has been compared to artists like Jewel and Michelle Branch, although you can also distinctly hear influences from country stars like Carrie Underwood and Sheryl Crow.
Maggie was born in 1995 and grew up in Severna Park, Maryland. At the age of 12, she picked up the guitar and started taking lessons. She released her first single “First Kiss” in 2011. In January 2012, the music video for First Kiss, which was directed by the award-winning director Trey Fanjoy, was featured on an episode of Wheel of Fortune to mark Maggie’s 17th birthday.
So, yeah. Right out of the gate, nepotism was in full force. Most aspiring musicians have to jump through countless hoops just to get producers to listen to their demo tapes, let alone score a record deal, but here little Maggie, while still in high school, was already being featured on Primetime television.
Maggie went on to record several other singles, one of which was featured in the season finale of the series Sweet Home Alabama.
In 2013, while in her freshman year at Princeton, Maggie did a fashion shoot for Teen Vogue.
Flash forward to January 2020, Maggie first appeared on Wheel of Fortune, filling in for Vanna White as letter-turner for a week when White was hosting Wheel in place of Pat, who was recovering from surgery.
In 2021, Maggie officially joined the Wheel of Fortune team as a social media correspondent.
The Rumor Mill Is Churning
At the moment, Pat Sajak is still very much so the host of Wheel of Fortune. As of January 2023, he has yet to even put a potential date on his retirement. Still, this hasn’t stopped fans of the game show from honing in on his recent remarks about Maggie’s hosting skills while drawing their own conclusions about what that might imply.
In a clip from the “Holiday Trivia with Pat & Vanna” special, which aired in December 2022, Maggie took over as host while quizzing Pat and Vanna with some festive holiday-related questions. After putting their knowledge to the test with prompts about Santa Clause’s various nicknames and other bits of Yule Tide trivia, Maggie received high praise from her father.
At the end of the December 27, 2022 episode, Pat reflected on his daughter’s hosting chops while telling her that she was ‘actually a good host’.
His seemingly innocuous remark renewed intense speculation that Maggie was being groomed to take over as the next Wheel of Fortune host. Earlier this year, Redditors speculated about the potentiality of Maggie instead taking over Vanna White’s letter-turning duties – and as Wheel fans know, White has held that role for decades.
After Maggie joined the Wheel family in 2021 as a social media correspondent, she made several appearances on the program both onstage and in behind-the-scenes clips. As of yet, she hasn’t been given any substantial duties outside of presumably managing Tik Tok and Instagram accounts. Still, some fans believe that her role on the show, albeit minor, is a path toward her eventually hosting the program.
When Maggie was initially hired, hordes of bloggers, journalists, and Hollywood insiders voiced their opinion that her social media role was merely an attempt to introduce her to the Wheel of Fortune audience before Vanna inevitably retires several years down the line. Since she filled in for her in 2020, she’s already had a bit of practice performing her duties.
The timing of this recent Wheel of Fortune-related speculation has come at the perfect time. New York Magazine recently ran a cover story covering nepo babies. While Maggie wasn’t included in that story, if what Wheel fans are suspecting is true, in a few years time she just might end up being included in lists of celebrity children who achieved their fame only out of nepotism.
Sajak Has Hinted About His Retirement
At 76, Pat Sajak’s time on network TV is obviously limited. The veteran entertainer revealed to Entertainment Tonight in 2022 that his time as host of Wheel of Fortune was almost at ‘the end’. When he made these comments, Sajak had been the host of Wheel for 41 years. In that interview, he said that he wouldn’t be doing it for ‘another 40 years’. Needless to say, that isn’t so much a revelation as it is stating the obvious, but it does indicate that Sajak is beginning to weigh his options and consider what the future has in store for Wheel.
After stating that he was well aware that his advancing age would eventually force him to call it quits, Sajak told ET that it was an honor to have been invited in to ‘people’s living rooms for so long’. He wrapped up his sentiments by saying that he and his team were very ‘happy and proud’ of what they had managed to accomplish in the last four decades.
Wheel of Fortune premiered in 1975, with Sajak becoming host in 1981. Vanna White, aged 66, was brought to the program as co-host and letter-turner in 1982. The two have been working with each other, sharing the screen with immense chemistry, ever since then.
In 2021, Today reported that Pat and Vanna had signed a lucrative contract to continue co-hosting the game show until at least 2024. That said, Sajak’s recent comments about his time on the show ‘coming to an end’ combined with those subtle hints that his daughter might be gearing up to take on a more active role with the series indicate that he and White might be seeking an early exit from their respective gigs.
Regardless of how things unfold, Wheel of Fortune fans shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Sajak has repeatedly assured us that the show is likely to continue airing long after he and White take their leave.
In 2022, Sajak was quoted as saying that while most shows that have gone on as long as Wheel has begin to feel stale, leading viewers to wonder if it’s time to pull the plug, Wheel of Fortune was special in the way that it still retains much of it’s originality and likability. He went on to say that the ‘show will not die’ and that it appeared as if he ‘may go before the show’ does.
Sajak’s comments last year weren’t the first time that he addressed retirement rumors. In 2021, he told Entertainment Tonight that he ‘couldn’t foresee’ himself spending another decade as host of Wheel.
He elaborated on that thought by telling the outlet that he was ‘closer to the end’ of his hosting duties than the beginning. He further expressed that he wanted to leave before people started tuning in and asking ‘Oh! what happened to him?’
Vanna White has also been interviewed and expressed very sentiments as Pat. Speaking to ET, the blonde bombshell said that she would likely leave the program before the end of the decade. She went on to say that in the last four decades of working together, she and Pat became as close as family.
“He’s like my brother” White said, before adding that they could finish each other’s sentences if they wanted to.
While they might be casually looking for the exit sign, it might be difficult for the well-paid duo of TV personalities to give up their lucrative roles. Reportedly both Pat and Vanna make eight figures a year. In 2016, Sajak was said to be making $15 million a year, while White was earning $10 million annually. Since they just renewed their contracts a couple of years ago, it’s likely that they are making even more than that!
Regardless of what the future holds, however, it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Wheel of Fortune – not by a long shot!
So, what do you think? Do you think that Maggie Sajak really is being groomed to take over as host or co-host of Wheel of Fortune or do you think that all of that talk is merely baseless speculation? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!